Changes afoot for transit 

Mayor getting negative transit comments daily

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Whistler Transit is making changes to its winter schedule in mid-February.

That's good news for some bus riders and will likely cut down on the swell of negative comments to the Mayor's Office every day.

"Transit continues to be a challenge for us," admitted Mayor Nancy Wilhelm-Morden in her report to council Tuesday.

For bus riders the changes mean:

• all northbound and southbound Valley Connector trips will go through Gondola Transit Exchange,

• improved connections between Alpine and Nordic to Function for 8:30 a.m. and 9 a.m. start times and 5 p.m., 5:30 p.m. and 6 p.m. end times;

• improved schedule reliability by adding more recovery time for trips that are consistently late and,

• reallocating underused service hours south of Whistler Creek first to offset bringing the Valley Connector into transit exchange and then, if hours remain, to add service to Rainbow and Emerald (one more round trip per day to those subdivisions from the village was also added).

Despite deep cuts to the transit system this year, the municipality is still $840,000 short to fund the system.

Legacies society to report publicly to council after in camera meeting

Representatives of the Whistler Sport Legacies (WSL) met with council this week behind closed doors, but plans are in the works for more public reporting.

Wilhelm-Morden explained afterwards why Tuesday's meeting with municipal board representative Jim Godfrey and WSL president and CEO Keith Bennett was not in a public forum.

"First of all the society isn't a public organization it's a society so it's technically a private organization so when they talk to us about financial matters, they're disclosing things to us that are in the nature of confidential business.

"They were also talking about relationships with the province and the initiatives that they're taking with the province, which again falls under the exemptions to the Community Charter for public meetings.

"I can say we talked about whether that should have been in camera or not right at the beginning, and then again at the end and we were satisfied that it properly fell within the in camera exclusion. But we do want them to report to us in a public forum on a regular basis and they agreed."

The WSL is charged with running the multi-million dollar Olympic legacies.

The mayor also attended a closed door Whistler Development Corporation board meeting this week, the organization responsible for building the athletes' village. There will be announcements coming out of that meeting in the coming weeks, she said.

Council also held its first Committee of the Whole meeting this week in an effort to improve transparency and accountability. It heard presentations from the Whistler Arts Council and the Rainbow commercial developers.

Council sets work plan after retreat

Some of the action plans for council in the coming months were touched on briefly at the meeting this week, setting the foundation for the work ahead this term.

"We worked really hard," said Wilhelm-Morden upon her return from the overnight retreat at the Brew Creek Centre.

Council's five priorities for the term are: fiscal responsibility, accountability and engagement, client-focused service delivery, open for business and the catch-all priority — progressive resort community planning.

For more details on the priorities go to later this week.


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